Theatre Reviews

The Worth of Words

July 14, 2015

Deepa Gahlot — Nadira Zaheer Babbar declares that there has been no finer qawwali written in Hindi films than Sahir Ludhianvi’s Yeh ishq ishq hai in Barsaat Ki Raat (1960). It’s a very long piece (composed by Roshan), but as a sample there are the lines: Mazhab-e-ishq ki har rasm kadi hoti hai, Har qadam par koi deewaar khadi hoti hai Ishq aazad hai, Hindu Na Musalmaan hai ishq, Aap hii dharm hai aur aap hii imaan hai ishq Jis se aage nahin sheikh-o-Brahaman donon, Us haqeeqat ka garajtaa hua ailaan hai ۔۔۔

Changing for the theatre

June 28, 2015

Intsab Sahi — ‘Revival’ is a buzzword these days. It’s mostly thrown in at a mention of our local film industry. But theatre in Lahore, it seems, is also at a point where it is experiencing a sort of a ۔۔۔

Tales of a Begum

May 11, 2015

Muneera Batool — It’s a play that the theatre lovers in the country would be most familiar with. Begum Jaan, originally scripted by seasoned Hindi film writer and playwright Javed Siddiqui, has been performed variously on stage in Lahore and Karachi, most notably by a NAPA theatre group that famously starred Nimra Bucha in the eponymous role of a septuagenarian with a glorious past as a classical singer. Every time it garnered great reviews. Mercifully, a recent performance by a group of students from LUMS was no less ۔۔۔

The stained dawn

May 11, 2015

Abdul Majeed Abid — It has been sixty-eight years since the partition of India but the wounds of that tragedy still plague people in India and Pakistan. With each passing year, the number of partition survivors dwindles but the spectre of partition stays alive and well. Keeping the political aspect of partition aside, the personal costs of partition were tremendous and left long-lasting memories of either brutality, indifference or kindness among the survivors. Historians and sociologists have yet to determine the factors that prompted millions of people to leave their homes and depart for an unknown land. Political scientists still disagree about who was to ‘blame’ for the unprecedented violence that engulfed the subcontinent before and after partition. One undisputed fact is that partition was a traumatic experience for those who left, were left behind or decided to ۔۔۔

A life in defiance: Theatre play on poet Sara Shagufta

March 26, 2015

Swati Daftaur — From the moment it begins, is a difficult play. Twisted, anguished voices, a scene in a female ward of a mental asylum, a heavy gloom laced with tension, humiliation and defiance; the stage is set with images and sounds that introduce you to the life and legacy of a poet whose words were drawn from a pool of oppression and ۔۔۔

Deepti Girotra and Sowmya Ram on Theatre

March 26, 2015

Prabalika M Borah — It is more glamorous to be on stage than behind it. So then why would a young girl choose to direct rather than act? Clearly there is more to the lure of theatre than the arclights and makeup. Two young women in the city have chosen to chart their own course in this arena, beginning with acting but moving to direction. They both have different, independent perspectives on how theatre works ۔۔۔

Dara: fighting Islamism with art and culture

March 12, 2015

Peter Tatchell — IN the wake of the Sydney, Paris and Copenhagen terror attacks – and the repeated foiling of Islamist terror plots in the UK – the government is proposing a draconian clamp-down on hate speech and non-violent extremism. It argues that exposure to such views can be a gateway to Islamist terrorism. Apart from being an inadvertent menace to legitimate freedom of expression, repressing opinions is unlikely to be effective. Already existing anti-extremist sanctions have failed to undermine the Islamist ideology that is recruiting young people to the jihadist cause. What makes ministers think that their new proposals will fare any ۔۔۔

To honour eminent theatre critic and scholar Jaidev Taneja

March 5, 2015

Diwan Singh Bajeli — To honour eminent theatre critic and scholar Jaidev Taneja, Rangayan, formed by Delhi University’s Atma Ram Sanatan Dharam College, organised a two-day theatre festival at New Delhi’s Shri Ram Centre recently. It was also an occasion to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the formation of the group, which has been able to make a name for itself in the vibrant theatre landscape of the university. Over the years, Rangayan has been organising theatre festivals featuring its students, trained in a workshop conducted by experienced directors, which evoked tremendous response from theatre ۔۔۔

Hindi/Urdu play Aazar Ka Khwab at NCPA

February 24, 2015

Deepa Gahlot — Pygmalion was a sculptor who carved a woman out of ivory, and so realistic was his creation that he fell in love with it. He prayed to goddess Aphrodite for a bride who would be “the living likeness of my ivory girl” and the wish that he did not dare express-to bring his statue to life-was granted by the goddess. Galatea was brought to ۔۔۔

Hema Singh’s adaptation of “Of Mice and Men”

February 19, 2015

Diwan Singh Bajeli — Nobel Prize winning author John Steinbeck is the chronicler of the most dark, inhuman and utterly pessimistic face of America’s Great Depression. “Of Mice and Men” is one of his masterpieces that mirrors the decay of capitalism caused by its own inner contradictions, resulting in untold sufferings of the masses. More than two and a half decades ago this novel caught the imagination of some of the talented theatre practitioners of the Delhi stage who presented it as “Ye Aadmi Aur Ye Choohe” adapted in Hindi by Devendra Raj Ankur and Veerandra Saxena. It played at the Shri Ram Centre under the direction of Saxena. Recently we witnessed another version, entitled “Of Mice And Men”, which was presented by Rang Vinayak Rang Mandal Bareilly at the just concluded Bharat Rang ۔۔۔